By Christina Tynan-Wood
To hear my teens tell it, I lugged my first computer around in a covered wagon. They have a point: technology is advancing so quickly that computers only a few years old seem as obsolete as transportation in the Wild West. Take the ASUS VivoTab Smart, for example. This Windows 8 tablet is so tidy and small it slips easily into a slim purse. It does everything a full-sized desktop did a couple of years ago, but it's slicker, faster, and offers the instant-on convenience of a smartphone. With a practiced gesture, you can flip and fold the cover to create a stand, connect the wireless keyboard (optional, +$100), and transform it instantly into a micro-desktop. That’s pretty wild — and an amazing tool for students. Yours will quickly forget that learning once involved pencils, desks, and a dedicated room. She’ll store her files in the cloud, use the touch screen and two cameras to take video notes, video chat with teachers, and research projects — and her own questions — using any available surface and Internet connection. When her work is done, it all folds up with a snap — the cover attaches magnetically to the tablet and the keyboard clings magnetically to the cover — and she’s good to go. I hate to admit it, but in comparison, my big laptop bag does look a bit like a covered wagon.
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